Florence syndrome

Visitors to Florence are often overwhelmed at the amount of art found throughout the city, its churches and museums, but they may not realize they could in fact be suffering from a syndrome.

Stendhal syndrome, sometimes known as Florence syndrome, is a psychosomatic illness that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, confusion and even hallucinations when an individual is exposed to lots of beautiful art.

The syndrome is named after the famous 19th century French author Stendhal (author of The Charterhouse of Parma and The Red and the Black), who described his experience with the phenomenon during his 1817 visit to Florence in his book Naples and Florence: A Journey from Milan to Reggio.

Even there are many descriptions of people becoming dizzy and fainting while seeing Florentine art, especially while visiting the Uffizi, dating from the early 19th century on, the syndrome was only named in 1979, when it was described by Italian psychiatrist Graziella Magherini, who observed and described more than 100 similar cases among tourists and visitors in Florence.

To avoid succumbing to this syndrome when you visit Florence why not have a professional art historian guide you through the museums. Artviva’s Masterpiece of the Uffizi tour will ensure that you fully understand (and enjoy!) your visit to the Uffizi Gallery.

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